The representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to Nigeria and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Mrs. Angele Dikongue Atangana, says the attacks in Agatu local government area of Benue State by suspected militia left the area in total ruin.
Atangana, led on the tour of the area by Ezekiel Adaji, the Deputy Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Internally Displaced Persons, Refugees and NorthEast Development Initiative, also described the damage as unimaginable.
The UN representative, who stated that the plight of Agatu people deserved national and international attention, stressed that it would be difficult for the affected people to rebuild their communities without external help.
“In my 20 years of working as a humanitarian, I have never seen such a level of destruction. If steps are not taken, the crisis can affect the country as a whole,” she said.
She noted that the damage to Agatu was similar to what was happening in the North-East, and assured that her agency would aid in the rehabilitation of the displaced persons.
Addressing the Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, at the Ugbokpo camp, Atangana disclosed that the UN body had donated non-food items worth over N20 million to the IDPs, stating that the items were with the State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA,in Makurdi.
Meanwhile, the Presidency has dismissed the calls for President Muhammadu Buhari to visit Agatu, saying he needed not to be physically present to do his job.
The President spoke through the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, during a session with Osasu Igbinedion on “The Osasu Show,” aired on the African Independent Television, AIT.
In any case, Adesina reminded Nigerians that the Presidency had issued a statement on Agatu killings detailing the position of Buhari.
Also, yesterday, the Chairman of Agatu Local Government Area, Mr Joseph Ngbede, claimed that normalcy had returned to the area.
Ngbede, who spoke to Sunday Vanguard on phone, said residents were returning home.
“I don’t stay in Makurdi. I am in Agatu. I can say there are no more attacks and the people are returning home,” he said.
He said that, although the suspected Fulani attackers come from neighbouring Nasarawa State, he is not aware of the owner of the cows.
Last week, a meeting of Benue socio-cultural groups and religious leaders had flayed Buhari, army, and police chiefs, as well as Governor Samuel Ortom for failing to visit Agatu and other besieged Benue communities after the attacks.